So Close And Yet So Far
We always have the same thought before undertaking any major drivetrain change. "How hard can it be?" This was especially true with our 4.0L swap in this '68 J2000. And while actually bolting in the 4.0L, NV3550, and NP208 went down without drama, we got complacent and some of the little stuff bit us in the ass.
Ideally, we'd have a full road report ready for you in this installment. We used stock XJ engine-to-frame fuel lines from a junkyard XJ and tied them to the fuel pump and filter setup we obtained from Hesco. The Hotwire Auto wiring harness is hooked up and the factory ECU is plugged in. We bolted an XJ gas pedal to the firewall to facilitate the XJ throttle cable we used.
In this installment we're putting the wraps on our cooling system, using our trusted electric fan of choice for most CJ and FSJ radiators, the Flex-a-lite PN 575. We also added power steering with some junkyard parts, and tapped one of our favorite driveshaft builders, Tom Wood, for some trick, high-quality driveshafts that will spin well and true for the life of this vehicle.
So, then what's the holdup? Why no road test? As it turns out, the NP208 we bought on-line and had shipped from the Midwest was rife with hairline cracks. As soon as we disengaged the parking brake and allowed the vehicle weight to rest on the T-case yokes, those little hairlines turned into big, leaky spiders. It's so bad we're convinced if we put any power to the T-case it would literally blow apart. So, while we're searching for a replacement NP208 we'll turn our attention to improving the condition of the interior for our next installment.